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Cervical Health Awareness Month - Simone Alston

Cervical Health Awareness Month is in January. This month is designated to discuss ways to prevent cancer in the cervix, a part of a biological female’s reproductive system. Human papillomavirus, also known as HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease and is the cause for cervical cancer. HPV can be transmitted by someone having sex with someone with the disease or direct contact with someone’s genitalia. About 13,000 biological women contract cervical cancer and 4,000 of them die from it yearly.

In order to avert cervical cancer, women must get screenings every 3 to 5 years, be tested with pap smears and HPV tests, and receive the HPV vaccine. Prevention tests detect any problems like changes in your cells or early warning signs of disease. Being aware of symptoms of cervical cancer can make women aware if there are any changes in their body. A few of the many symptoms of cervical cancer include: vaginal bleeding after sexual activity, menstrual periods, or menopause, menstrual period longer than usual, watery, odorous or bloody vaginal discharge, feeling tired, pain in abdomen and back. 

Remember that cervical cancer is preventable. In order to prevent getting HPV at all, stay abstinent. However if you are sexually active or plan to in the future, use contraceptives such as condoms and/or dental dams, and limit the amount of sexual partners you have because the more sexual partners you have, the greater chance you have to contract HPV and possibly get cervical cancer. Always keep in mind that cervical cancer could be a possibility when having sex and remember the ways you can keep yourself safe!

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